Last night I attempted to stay up until 6am to keep Jono Berry company, as it was his last night in China and he would be leaving for the airport at…you guessed it…6am. We ate dinner at Dong Bei Ren (they hadn’t run out of the mushroom dish! yes!). Then headed over to Windows Scoreboard for some drinking games (kings), card tricks, and breathing in second-hand smoke. Then we went to Velvet Lounge, which is very much not my scene…it’s much too cool for school, and I’m much too ridiculous a girl. Anyway, we found a table outside and were just chilling out, when my friend Emily brings over her new friend Chris Tommaso. We start chit chatting and it turns out that he plays underwater hockey. What the what? Underwater huh? No, you’re kidding right? Alas, no, ladies and gents. Such a sport is a real thing but is not a spectator sport and gets little to no publicity. Hmmm, what other sport is awesome and played worldwide but doesn’t get good publicity….I’m drawing a blank, folks. ;)
Check it out (also search it on youtube.com….I can’t add a link cuz China has deemed youtube.com worthy of censorship…even proxies won’t work with it):
I spent the past weekend exploring Macau - the Las Vegas of the East. I spent the vast majority of my time exploring the inside of the Wynn Casino while playing poker. Nothing like relieving crazy Chinese gamblers of their money. I ended up making a month and a half's wages after playing for one weekend! Its a shame that I hadn't visited Macau earlier... If I had known how easy the games were, I would have been going down every weekend. It's probably for the best though - playing poker isn't good for the health or the sleeping schedule (I basically played all night, slept in the morning, and explored the city in the afternoon).
In addition to being a gambling haven, Macau is also a really cool old Portuguese city. I had a great time wandering around the old city snapping pictures. It was bizarre to see old stone buildings and European architecture after so long in China. I'm surprised that I noticed something like architecture, but it is actually a shocking difference. All the other buildings in China seem to be either old school Chinese hutong-type buildings, modern skyscrapers, or 70's ex-soviet style dormitories. It's odd what you notice after a year in China...
Jon P.S. For those who don't know C.R.E.A.M. = Cash Rules Everything Around Me (from the Wu Tang Clan)
In the States, we have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day… and in China, today we had Children’s Day. To celebrate, the kindergartens where I teach had an English performance. They sang a few songs that they have learned in this semester. My afternoon kindergarten performed in the morning, so I had to missed their show, but I’m sure they did great.
Usually, parents come to the show while they ooh and aah at their way-overly dressed little dumplings. Unfortunately, foot-and-mouth disease has been going around (bizarre, I know…), so the schools are limiting the number of people in and out of the school. So only teachers were allowed to watch the show…which pretty much made the whole thing seem a little pointless. Why show off how well they can twirl if the only people watching are the folks who see those moves every day? But they were still so cute! Bonus: I only had to work a total of 40 minutes today, with no afternoon classes. Sweet leisure time!
I took some great photos of the kids, however, the proxy server is being a bum and won't let me upload any files. Hopefully this will be remedied and you will all be able to bask in the glow of the cuteness emitting from these little Chinese dumplings.
Yesterday, I had a physiotherapy appointment to work on my back problem. It went really well. I started seeing a new doctor who seems really smart and has helped me tweak the exercises I was doing so that they’re more helpful and more fitted to what I need, and I’ve actually begun to feel a bit of improvement… Let’s just say, my back doesn’t hurt quite as much on a constant basis. Yes!
New news: in addition to swimming every other day, I’m also allowed to jog! Slowly, gradually, with great caution, but nonetheless, jog I shall. And jog I did. While the freesbisti did their thing today at the park, and while I attempted not to feel intense jealousy their ability to run and sprint and lay out with ease, I jogged around the field slooooooooooooooooowly for about 15 minutes. It hurt a little at first, but I got in a good groove. Ya hear that, Body! You’re gonna get better! Ha! Then I did my stretching routine, and watched the fit gals and girls scrimmage.
Even though the sun was blazing, I was so out of the habit of playing sports and hanging out outside that the concept of sunscreen didn’t even give me the courtesy of crossing my mind. Result: even though I’m wearing a tube top, it still looks like I’m wearing a regular tank top. Stark contrast between red and scarily pale. It doesn’t hurt (too much) and I haven’t started peeling (yet). Moisturize I will.
Lesson: even though it’s gazillions of miles away, the Sun will smack you up like nobody’s business. So take precautions. Use protection. ☺
I was on my way to a math tutoring job in Minhang (Chinese for demolished dead zone) and I was happily chatting away with my cabbie about the NBA finals. Side note: basketball is huge here and people love the NBA, especially Kobe. I hate Kobe and love Shaq, so I started talking to the cab driver about Shaq. He didn't seem to understand, so I said it slowly. Shaquille O'Neal. Then he got it and said "Oh, O'Neal. Women jiao ta O'Pang." A rough translation of this is "Oh, O'Neal. We call him O'Fat." Hilarious.
The Chinese government's censorship of Blogger has made blogging more difficult than I had anticipated. They are slowly figuring out and shutting down the proxy servers that I've been using. Bah.
In any case, life is moving along here in Shanghai. The weather is consistently amazing. Almost every day the sun comes out and shines down brightly. It's wonderful - it's amazing how much sunlight can effect one's mood. (300 days of sunshine every year in Colorado!)
Recently, I've also been doing a lot of planning for our month-long trip in Western China. I'm ridiculously excited about this adventure! Spending 30 days exploring Xinjiang and Xizang has been one of my dreams since we arrived in China. I've been checking out information on the web and in guidebooks about the area and the pictures are amazing! It's going to be refreshing to get out of the mass of steel, concrete, and people and into a more natural environment, Oh man, I can't wait!
With the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre coming up, the Chinese government decided that the best course of action would be to block Blogger.com (oh, and make it really hard for foreigners to acquire visas). Gah. So, so very annoying.
You might be thinking to yourself right now, "Self, if blogger is blocked in China and Jon is in China, then how is he updating the blog." This is a good question. Basically, there are a whole host of different proxy servers that can be used to get around the Great Firewall and effectively avoid the blocks that the PRC has instituted in all of its infinite wisdom. The government censorship is really doing nothing more than impede my ability to post quotidian posts about life over here. 加油，中国！
Anyways, this is the reason that I haven't been posting recently, but I will dig under the Great Firewall to bring you revolutionary news, such as what I had to eat yesterday (delicious pasta made by Emma) or the Ratatat concert that we're going to tomorrow...